Suicide in the Military as a Breach of the Right to Life, under the Provisions of Art. 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR.)
On the international community: Legal, political, diplomstic issues.Liber Amicorum Stelios Perrakis. I. Sideris publications (2017).
22 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2016 Last revised: 15 Jul 2017
Date Written: March 8, 2016
The paper aims to present succinctly the jurisprudence of the ECtHR upon deaths of military personnel attributed to self-harming behavior. Part I deals with issues of positive obligations of states-parties to the ECHR in the field of protection of the right to life and the modes of their application in cases of vulnerable persons susceptible to self-harm. Part II analyzes the main aspects of the Court’s most important judgments upon applications concerning breach of art. 2 ECHR submitted by next of kin of persons who allegedly took their own lives while serving in the armed forces of their country. The array of relevant cases includes possible responsibility of state authorities stemming mainly from a) deficiencies in the medical monitoring system of new recruits and serving personnel, b) tolerating or condoning the existence of a system of institutionalized bullying and physical and psychological harassment among the ranks of their armed forces and c) failure to establish the pertinent regulatory framework and inspire awareness in the chain of command as regards the treatment of psychologically fragile conscripts. Finally, part III deals with the observance of the procedural component of art. 2 ECHR (the duty to conduct an independent and effective investigation).
Keywords: The Right to Life, Suicide, Military, European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights
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